So, as the movie release date nears, books ordered months ago are now being released and joining the throng at the doorstep or mailbox. With the result that books continue to arrive, now at the rate of one every other day, with another three reaching me last week.
Monday's arrival: LIGHT: C. S. LEWIS'S FIRST AND FINAL SHORT STORY by Charlie Starr.
This is a 180-page edition of a four-page short story, which I think puts even my HISTORY OF THE HOBBIT (a thousand-page edition of a three hundred page book) to shame.
The story in question is "The Man Born Blind", first published in the posthumous collection THE DARK TOWER AND OTHER STORIES . Starr chronicles the discovery of a second, later manuscript, representing a revised version of the story (now at Taylor University, in Indiana). The authenticity of the piece, in its earlier form, had been challenged by the late K. Lindskoog; much of Starr's history of the story is devoted to laying those objections to rest. The main thing I'll be interested in when reading it will be whether the ideas about Light CSL expresses here have any affinities with (or show the influence of) JRRT's 'splintered light'.
Wednesday's arrival: BILBO'S JOURNEY: DISCOVERING THE HIDDEN MEANING OF THE HOBBIT by Joseph Pearce
This is Pearce's third book on Tolkien: the first was as editor of an important collection of essays focusing attention on Tolkien's Catholicism (a much neglected topic at the time) and the second a book that opened with a useful summary of the whole 'author of the century' flap.
This time he's focusing on THE HOBBIT, which he views as a sort of homily on the text "where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6.21). I suspect fewer would quarrel with his description of THE HOBBIT as "a pilgrimage of grace", the goal of which is "growth in wisdom and virtue" (a "Christian bildungsroman") than with his insistence that "It is in this way . . . that we are meant to read THE HOBBIT" (emphasis mine). To suggest an interpretation is one thing; to discount all other interpretations is another. Still, Pearce writes well and I'm looking forward to seeing how well his approach works as it follows through the story chapter by chapter.
Friday's arrival: TOLKIEN AND WELSH: ESSAYS ON J. R. R. TOLKIEN'S USE OF WELSH IN HIS LEGENDARIUM by Mark T. Hooker
This is the third (or fourth, depending on how you're counting) book by Hooker devoted to exploring Tolkien's nomenclature and its possible link and associations with real-world names of people and places. If you liked his previous collections, it's likely you'll like this one as well, and the reverse is also very much the case. With this new book, my attention was drawn to his piece on "Esgaroth", which he glosses as purely Celtic: es (river/lake) + garth (protected enclosure); I'd sought, not altogether successfully, to render it in Elvish (Noldorin) terms. He concludes that the Lake-men must therefore have been Celtic in culture, like the later Bree-folk. I see he also returns to consider the hobbit name "Puddifoot", which he now concludes Tolkien deliberately got wrong.
And this week? To quote The Who's TOMMY, "There's more at the door". But for that we'll need a separate post.
Walter F. Mondale
1 day ago